Proverb – Chinese


Translation: Old horse in stable still wants to run 1000 miles.

This is a proverb that my informant heard at the young age of eight. He told me that his mother scolded him when he naively pointed out an old man who moved very slowly. This proverb’s moral meaning is that people should not judge a person because he or she is aged. Although people may look aged on the outside, they have incredible wisdom on the inside due to experience that they have gained in their lifetime. Another moral meaning that this proverb holds is that even older people have dreams and aspirations that they want to fulfill.

In Chinese culture, the older a person is the more respect they deserve. This can be seen in birthday celebrations. One major birthday that is celebrated is the first full year of life; this is celebrated because very few babies lived to see their first birthday due to illness in the past. The next birthday that is celebrated is the twelfth birthday. This birthday indicates that a child has entered into adulthood. After this, very few birthdays are ever celebrated in China. The next important birthday is the 50th birthday. When a person has reached the age of 50, they are very much revered, because he or she has had 50 years of experience and knowledge. Grandparents are always given the first priority in a Chinese household. When their daughters or daughters-in-law are cooking meals, they must always think about what the grandparents want to eat. Grandparents also typically return to live in their child’s home when they become older. This is so that their children can return the love and time their parents spent on them.